Every time I read about the British Invasion, Cilla Black’s name comes up, even though she enjoyed limited popularity in the US. It might be because she knew The Beatles, having worked at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where the Fab Four played a lot of their early shows and were discovered by Brian Epstein. John Lennon asked Brian to audition her, but the audition didn’t go well. However, subsequently he heard her at the Cavern and signed her to a contract.
In addition to being a singer, Cilla has worked in television, beginning with her own variety show in the 1960’s, arranged by Epstein prior to his death. She’s been in a few sitcoms, including Surprise! Surprise!, and hosted a couple of game shows, including Blind Date, a show based on The Dating Game.
The two songs I selected are ones also associated with Dionne Warwick; the two worked extensively with Burt Bacharach and Hal David and recorded many of the same songs. The first is “You’re My World,” from 1964. It rose to #26 on the Hot 100 while going to #1 in the UK. The second is her interpretation of the theme from the movie “Alfie,” from 1965. Her recording only made it to #95 in the US, but reached #9 in the UK. There’s a lively debate on YouTube about whether Cilla’s or Dionne’s is the better version, meaning you could see it as a future Battle of the Bands.
Cilla Black, your Two for Tuesday, May 19, 2015.